80% of English schools good or better at their last inspection, says latest Ofsted data; 3% inadequate

Janet Downs's picture
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In England as a whole 80% of schools were good or better at their last inspection. 18% were judged Satisfactory/Requires Improvement and 3% were Inadequate, provisional management information from Ofsted dated February 2014 reveals.

London had the greatest proportion of good and outstanding schools: 86% were good or better and 2% were Inadequate.

The South East had the smallest proportion of good and outstanding schools (77%) with 3% inadequate. This was closely matched by the East Midlands which had 78% good and outstanding school and 3% inadequate ones.

Durham, part of which (East Durham) was criticised by Education Secretary Michael Gove last year when he said the air was full of the “sense of defeatism”, had 86% good or outstanding schools and just 1% inadequate.

Northamptonshire, criticised on 24 March by Michael Gove for having low education standards in the past, had 1% fewer good or better schools (79%) than leafy Surrey where Gove is MP. But perhaps Northamptonshire’s “low education standards” referred to last year’s exam results. It’s true the proportion of Northamptonshire 11 year-olds reaching Level 4 in Key Stage 2 Sats was 3% lower than the national average of 75% and the proportion of 16 year-olds (58.1%) reaching the benchmark* was marginally below the national average for all schools (59.2%). But whether these figures could be described as “low education standards” is debatable.

But Gove told the Commons “reform always needs to be driven by evidence. That principle governs every single decision the coalition Government make.”

Odd, then, that the evidence often seems to contradict what Gove and his department say.

STOP PRESS

The Guardian reveals how Gove tried to limit fall out from failing free schools here. Leaked document laid down how to 'step in fast to cut political damage'.

*The benchmark is 5+ GCSEs (or equivalent) A*-C including Maths and English.
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Comments

John Winstanley's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 12:03

Great article Janet!

Everyone can keep up to date on the real-time "Local Authority Performance Tables" which just look at primary and secondary schools at

www.watchsted.com/tables

(Do you include Nursery, PRU and Special in your stats?)

Janet would love to have a chat with you and Henry (who knows us from twitter)

Oh also knocked up a map of free schools last night to compliment the article that Warwick wrote last night its here

http://tinyurl.com/na98y8y

R Waring's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 12:41

Ofsted had better be careful finding all this improvement and goodness in schools, they're going to inspect themselves out of a job.


Brian's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 14:14

No chance. They'll just re-designate 'Good' as 'Requires Improvement' and confirm that 'Outstanding' is now the minimum expectation with schools expected to strive for the new 'Exceptional' grade.


Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 15:18

Brian - although it's encouraging that more schools are being judged good or better, I, too, share your misgivings. A few years ago "Satisfactory" meant just that - satisfying the criteria. Then the meaning of satisfactory was degraded to mean "not good" (ie bad but not so bad as to be inadequate). Therefore, "satisfactory" needed to be designated "requires improvement".

But as more schools become good, then good just becomes "average". Average is not good, therefore these schools would require improvement.

And the more Outstanding schools there are, the less they stand out. As you suggest, schools would need to be Exceptional in order to get the top grade.

It's this tinkering with grades and definitions that brings Ofsted into disrepute. When the Chief Inspector of Schools applies "Requires Improvement" retrospectively to those schools previously judged to have satisfied the criteria, then Ofsted itself requires improvement.

Andy V's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 17:19

To the best of my knowledge no school formally judged satisfactory has had this "retrospectively" changed to "requires improvement". My understanding was that the latter was brought in and replaced the the former from the effective date of the changes to the section 5 framework and handbook, and thus only those schools inspected after that date could be judged R/I under the new grade 3 descriptors.

I would then respectfully suggest that to assert that all schools previous graded satisfactory overnight were retrospectively changed to R/I is inaccurate and disappointingly misleading.

Beth's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 17:40

Isn't that called continuous improvement?

The problem with 'Satisfactory' was that parents simply weren't satisfied by it. In parents' eyes it meant that the schools weren't good, and they were getting third best, yet in the eyes of Local Authorities, they had met the criteria, and therefore didn't need to strive for further improvement. There was a big mismatch in aspiration there, which the new "Requires Improvement" grade recognises.

Beth's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 17:47

And "Outstanding" doesn't literally mean that the schools stand out; that's a misnomer, because the measurement criteria are absolute rather than relative. In an ideal world all of our schools will meet the criteria to be defined as "Outstanding". However, if we were closing in on that goal, then as a parent I would absolutely expect the bar to be raised higher (whether it be called "Exceptional" or something else).


rogertitcombe's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 19:53

Janet - Your STOP PRESS is a much better indicator of the health of the English education system. It deserved a post to itself.


Brian's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 19:01

And that's what schools find so dispiriting, Beth. In your ideal world all schools meet the Outstanding criteria and as a parent you then expect the bar to be raised to 'Exceptional'. The notion that this motivates schools to become exceptional, only to be faced with another raised bar ('Stunning'? 'Etonesque?' ), is simply wrong.
I'd also be interested to read your evidence that parents weren't satisfied with 'Satisfactory' and that Local Authorities felt such schools didn't need to improve.

rogertitcombe's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 19:47

Sorry to cast a damper on all this jubilation but my work on 'school improvement' over the last decade suggests that Ofsted is just as unreliable and unfit for purpose in its 'good' and 'outstanding' grades as it is in its 'requires improvement' judgements.

Throughout the entire period of the vocational equivalent scam Ofsted showered praise on the 'improved' schools and their curriculum that secured such 'improvement'. This persists to this day. Schools are still getting 'good' and 'outstanding' judgements for curriculum arrangements that Michael Gove has condemned and at last put a stop to. The new performance tables section giving performance information for pupils entering schools with SATs L3, L4 and L4+ is very revealing as the data are provided with equivalents and GCSE only. There are good and outstanding schools that do not allow SATs L3 pupils to take any GCSEs at all except English and maths and the same applies to schools that blatantly exploit early and multiple exam board entries, despite strong criticism from both Gove and Ofqual. I have never seen an Ofsted report that condemns these practices. This is especially concerning given that the outcome of lesson inspections are predetermined through the practice of 'triangulation', so that any inspector that actually recognised good or bad teaching would not be allowed to permit any such judgements to cloud the conclusions that the team had already come to before they visited the school.

I am amazed that so many commentators on this site that are so good at recognising the failings of the government's education policies, are so ready to accept that according to Ofsted, schools are constantly improving and standards have never been higher. So just like George Osborne, Michael Gove has got it right all along?

The success of schools in our marketised, perverse incentive riddled education system is as sound an indicator of our educational standards as Osborne's full employment is as an indicator of the real nature of employment opportunities (part time, below living wages and zero hours contracts) in our 'growing' economy.

See my post

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/01/is-school-improvement-a-go...

Although our employers mistakenly think that the sole purpose of education is to secure national economic growth, they have a completely different take to Ofsted on the health of the English education system, and they are right.

Beth's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 20:40

Brian said : "And that’s what schools find so dispiriting, Beth. In your ideal world all schools meet the Outstanding criteria and as a parent you then expect the bar to be raised to ‘Exceptional’"

That's continuous improvement Brian. It's something that is the norm in many other industries. In my employment, we have performance related pay, but even if we meet the top bar we're expected to set objectives for further growth. Otherwise we'd just be resting on our laurels. Tired, burnt out teachers might find it dispiriting, but energetic, ambitious teachers will find it invigorating, provided (!) they're properly rewarded for good performance.

Of course, rather than thinking up ever more stellar nomenclature, it probably would be practical just to ramp up the criteria for achieving good/outstanding.

My kids go to a "good" school according to Ofsted. However, their learning experience is streets ahead of my own experience at the same age. If things are heading in the right direction, standards rise steadily over time, and performance measures need to evolve to accommodate that evolution.

rogertitcombe's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 21:00

Beth - How do you recognise continuous improvement in education?


Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 10:41

Andy - the 2012 Ofsted report said 2,293,026 pupils were in schools "not good enough" but that figure can only be sustained by applying "Requires Improvement" retrospectively to those schools previously judged Satisfactory when that description meant satisfying the criteria.

You're right that no school previously judged Satisfactory has been formally re-designated but Ofsted's remarks show that this is what is now implied.

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/11/behind-the-negative-headli...

Andy V's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 10:52

Janet, I understand your line of thought but fear that the conclusion you draw is inaccurate. That is to say, in Ofsted speak any school not judged 'good' is not good enough and thus any school previous judged and not yet reinspected graded as 'satisfactory' and any school inspected and judged R/I can accurately be said to be "not good enough". It follows then that no school has been retrospectively changed from 'satisfactory' to 'R/I'.

I fear then that notion of this being "implied" is yours and not Ofsted's.

Andy V's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 10:57

Beth, I am intrigued by what it is that you understand "continuous improvement" to be in relation to schools. The context for your comments are a direct comparison with what happens in "other industries" and hence my interest in unpacking what you mean by "continuous improvement".


John Winstanley's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 14:35

Great article Janet.

Do your statistics include pru, nursey and special?

You can get the current (upto last night) primary and secondary statistics by LA at http://www.watchsted.com/tables

Would be great to chat to you to find out how we could help your analysis - john.winstanley@angelsolutions.co.uk

Beth's picture
Sun, 06/04/2014 - 21:44

Roger said: "How do you recognise continuous improvement in education? "

I think you mean how would it be measured, yes? If Ofsted wanted to raise the bar I would expect it to define and justify the new parameters it expects schools to meet. That's its job.

rogertitcombe's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 12:19

Beth - That's the problem. I don't have any confidence in Ofsted's judgements for the reasons I set out. My experience of school improvement is that meeting one high stakes target is usually at the cost of one or more seriously perverse incentives that are not acknowledged or easily recognised by parents, the public or the media. The vocational equivalent scam is an excellent example, as are the 'improvements' brought about by teaching to the test and early entry. All these things lower the quality of education provided by 'improved' schools, which may actually be providing worse standards of education the more they appear to be improving. This is exactly what was happening throughout the 'New Labour' period of astonishing year-on-year 'improvement', when the reality was disastrous year-on-year grade inflation.

Not only do I not have any confidence in Ofsted judgements, I do not have any confidence in their ability to spot and report on the perverse outcomes of the 'improvements' they celebrate in their reports. Part of my lack of confidence springs from central role of the private 'education support industry' in the Ofsted system.

So I have to ask you again, how do know that a school has improved?

The other problem is the sheer scale of year-on-year improvement that the public and the media have come to expect. This was never likely to have been real. It is the educational equivalent of an 'economic bubble' and as in the history of economies, they keep happening. If something appears to be too good to be true it usually is.

You might be interested in what the Rev Richard Dawes was achieving with his village kids in the mid 19th century.

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/09/lessons-for-gove-from-the-...

I am not nostalgically harking back to any 'good old days' at all, but contrary to your experience, some of the very best teaching I ever saw was in the fully comprehensive system of the late 1980s. Of course we should have a culture of continuous improvement but it is a frequently counter-intuitive business where things are frequently not what they seem.

Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 12:44

Roger, as I said to Janet below, I'm talking about what Ofsted "should" be. Whether or not it always lives up to that expectation is another matter, but that is something that can be worked on.

You said: "So I have to ask you again, how do know that a school has improved?"

A good school will monitor and track its pupils' progress in an objective way. They will look at many different sub-groups, such as boys, children on FSM, ethnic minority groups etc, and identify pockets of low attainment that can be targeted with interventions. They will ensure that high attainers are stretched, and that middle and low attainers are supported to make equivalent levels of progress too. At every stage they will record evidence, that can be looked at by Ofsted to verify that what they're doing is effective.

And if someone comes along and says the monitoring system is pants, they will improve the monitoring system, not throw it out of the window and return to an unmonitored free-for-all.

You also said: "some of the very best teaching I ever saw was in the fully comprehensive system of the late 1980s"

You didn't see it at my school. Some of it was good. A lot of it was bad. (I left school in 1990).

Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 08:41

Brian said: "I’d also be interested to read your evidence that parents weren’t satisfied with ‘Satisfactory’...."

That's easy. Look at the application numbers. Schools with higher Ofsted ratings are more likely to be oversubscribed, and schools with lower Ofsted ratings are more likely to be undersubscribed. That's certainly true of my local area, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that it will be true of most other areas too.

" ... and that Local Authorities felt such schools didn’t need to improve"

1. In general: The sluggishness of movement across the satisfactory/good boundary, with no sense that our LA (and others) were striving for improvement.
2. Specifically: The patronising response given by local LA officers to parents who expressed frustration at being allocated a place at an unpopular school, that it was "perfectly satisfactory", implying that they were expecting too much for it to be as good as other local schools. They've changed their tune now, and there's a lot more talk about supporting it to improve.

Brian's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 08:52

Apologies Beth, but that sounds like your personal, local, experience. I could counter that by telling you that in my local authority there is no evidence of a rush to 'better' schools and the LA advisory service certainly doesn't respond in a lacklustre way to underperforming schools. But that would just be my personal experience and doesn't automatically become the experience of parents nor LAs generally.


Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 09:20

Possibly true. I live in London, which has its own issues. However, I think a lot of the comments on this site relate to the personal experience of a small number of individuals, and hopefully you'd agree that it's good to have a mixture of those, giving different perspectives.


Brian's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 10:18

I agree entirely Beth, personal experiences are extremely valuable and personal insights into our schools are vital. I suppose it's my personal view ... I like to see statements prefaced with 'In my opinion ...' or 'In my limited experience ... ' or 'There is evidence (link to source) to show ......'. That's one reason I like LSN so much ... many contributions are well evidenced. Doesn't mean personal reflections aren't valued though.


Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 11:35

Brian, that's why I prefaced my points with "In general .." and "Specifically ...".

The generalised point reflects my observations across the handful of Local Authorities I have visibility of, from my own experience and that of friends and family.

It also intuitively ties in with Janet's observation that satisfactory previously meant "satisfying the criteria". If I was an LA officer or a school leader (rather than a parent at the receiving end of the service) I'd probably have a "job done" attitude to the word Satisfactory too, and be ready to dismiss those who demanded better. It's a natural human reaction.

One of the key things that changed the approach here (in addition to the change in Ofsted nomenclature) was that a newly elected administration put a councillor who was also a parent of primary aged children in charge of their education portfolio. All of a sudden, the LA, and the parents were pulling in the same direction.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 11:29

Andy - re Satisfactory (no reply button). This is the Ofsted definition of Satisfactory:

"These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory school is providing adequately for its pupils."

There's a subtle distinction between "reasonable" or "providing adequately" and " not good enough". The former implies "satisfying the criteria" while the latter implies "not satisfying the criteria".

If Grade 3 state schools were in the private sector and inspected by the ISI then they would not be Satisfactory or Require Improvement - they would be Sound.

"Sound" doesn't imply "not good enough".

Andy V's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 20:34

Janet

The no reply button on my post is because my response came under the 'reply button' of your post.

Your quote from Ofsted is out of date in that when 'satisfactory' was replaced by 'requires improvement' in 2012 the former became redundant/obsolete and as such cannot be analysed in relation to schools graded 'requires improvement' since Sept '12. The descriptors for 'requires improvement' are different from the predecessor descriptors and thus not comparable. There is no read across between the pre '12 'Satisfactory' and post '12 @R/I'

With regard to 'Sound v R/I' (a) see below and (b) if you were a fee paying parent would you choose a school graded Sound or Good+?

With regard to R/I v 'Sound' are you aware of the following, which indicates that the grade descriptors are different between Association Independent Schools and their State counterparts and as such are not a direct read across:

"Comparing ISI reports with Ofsted reports

Both ISI and Ofsted report on independent schools’ compliance with the Independent School Standards Regulations. However, they apply different frameworks and have different criteria for judging school quality that are suited to the different types of schools they inspect"

http://www.isi.net/images/Reports%20factsheet%20070213.pdf

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 08/04/2014 - 08:10

Andy - I know Satisfactory no longer applies. It's a redundant description for schools judged Grade 3 since the criteria changed. But the definition I gave was for Satisfactory when it was Satisfactory.

And that was my point. It's misleading to take the description for "Requires Improvement" and apply it retrospectively to those schools judged Satisfactory. They are, as you say, "not comparable".

You're right that a fee-paying parent able to choose between private schools would choose the one with the highest judgement. But if there are few private schools in the area (quite common outside cities) and that school is judged "Sound" it might give parents a false impression. As I said, "sound" implies being better that "requires improvement".

That said, I doubt very much if there are any "sound" schools among the groups that comprise the Independent Schools Council - admission is only allowed to private schools which have had high inspection results. I think a "sound" school would not be allowed. I have no proof of this, though, it's just a gut feeling and may be no more than personal prejudice.

Andy V's picture
Tue, 08/04/2014 - 10:31

Janet, This brings us full circle to your original post on this issue:

"A few years ago “Satisfactory” meant just that – satisfying the criteria. Then the meaning of satisfactory was degraded to mean “not good” (ie bad but not so bad as to be inadequate). Therefore, “satisfactory” needed to be designated “requires improvement” (6 Apr)

This was followed by:

"Andy – the 2012 Ofsted report said 2,293,026 pupils were in schools “not good enough” but that figure can only be sustained by applying “Requires Improvement” retrospectively to those schools previously judged Satisfactory when that description meant satisfying the criteria. You’re right that no school previously judged Satisfactory has been formally re-designated but Ofsted’s remarks show that this is what is now implied." (7 Apr)

My understanding of the situation is that prior to 2012 a school that was not judged to meet the descriptors for 'good' but wasn't a grade 4 'special measures' was adjudged to be 'satisfactory'. Indeed, this prevailed for many years prior to the 2010 general election and the formation of the Con-LibDem coalition. In the run up to 2012 it was determined (rightly or wrongly) that to parents and the taxpayer had the right to expect that the minimum standard for compulsory education should be 'good'. Hence the Ofsted framework and handbook were rewritten to reflect new (and uplifted criteria) for grades 1-3. No need for grade 4 other than to differentiate between 'serious weaknesses' i.e. the HT, Governors and SLT have the capacity to bring about improvement and 'special measures' i.e. no capacity for improvement. It follows then that from 2012 the new framework and handbook with rewritten criteria/descriptors came into force and it is simply not possible to compare or correlate the judgements rooted in the pre and post 2012 changes.

This leads me back to my original point that whether pre or post 2012 any school judged 'satisfactory' or 'requires improvement' has not met the relevant criteria for 'good' and can legitimately and accurately be described as 'not being good enough'. That is to say say, such school are not providing a minimum 'good' standard of education. On this basis it is inaccurate to assert that Ofsted has implied let alone retrospectively regraded schools judged 'satisfactory' under the pre '12 regime as 'requires improvement'. They have not, they have simply highlighted that 'x' number of pupils are at schools not judged to be 'good'.

Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 11:59

Andy said: "Beth, I am intrigued by what it is that you understand “continuous improvement” to be in relation to schools."

Andy, my 9-year old, who goes to a "good" local primary is learning concepts in English, Maths, Science etc that I didn't learn until I was much older. He is taught in a much more organised and professional way than I was. He has a much broader experience, with extra-curricular enrichment activities, and extension tasks. I'm thrilled by that, not least because to me it reflects a significant amount of progress in education generally. However, I'm constantly seeing ways in which the school could further improve, and I give constructive feedback whenever I get the opportunity to do so.

A good school takes that sort of feedback, analyses it and acts on it if its thought to be useful. A poor one complains about "interfering parents", and an ever increasing workload.

Education evolves, just like everything else in life. On a school level, teachers, and at national level Governments, are constantly trying out new ideas. Some of them work, and are adopted more widely, and others don't work and are dropped.

To me, Ofsted provides a framework for making sure recognised "best practice" is disseminated across schools nationally. It's a sort of catalyst for (hopefully) positive evolution.

On a practical basis, steps forward are made through target setting - whether that be Ofsted setting a school a specific set of targets to help it to improve, or a Headteacher setting individual teachers personal objectives.

In a well run company, objectives are set at Board level, and then cascaded down through the layers of management to individuals, so that everyone is pulling in the same direction. Everyone is given a set of objectives, and a timeframe in which to achieve them. Their performance is measured against those objectives, and if the company operates performance related pay, they will be rewarded accordingly.

I wouldn't ever expect the education system to be quite so organised as that, but the principle is the same.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 12:22

Beth - the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found the most effective school improvement methods were not "top down" but allowed teachers a high degree of autonomy to decide what and how to teach.

The OECD also said performance-related pay might work in teaching but it was extremely difficult to do. Other evidence suggests that prp does not work in teaching (see faq above).

rogertitcombe's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 12:35

Beth - But if you looked at the Ofsted report of the Steiner Academy in Hereford, you will find that in that school KS2 is unlike anything that you are so keen on. However Ofsted judges the Steiner Academy to be 'good' in all categories and that its pupils 'catch up' by the end of Y6. Then there is the Finnish system, where children don't start school at all until the age of 7, yet they consistently outperform English pupils by the age of 16, especially in maths and science. How do know your 9 year old is understanding the concepts he is being introduced to? How does the school know? It is crucially dependent on the teaching methods used. Are you sure you are able to evaluate these? As for your comparisons with business, the ever rising target model backed by PRP doesn't work in education and I don't believe it works in business either outside the dodgy world of selling people stuff they don't need and which don't work. The financial services industry works on your model and look at the mess that got us into as a country, for the companies that had to be bailed out, and for the poor sods that were conned into buying the 'products'.


rogertitcombe's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 12:39

Beth - Throughout the Labour period of 'school improvement' there were national roll-outs of 'good practice' by the month. They were almost all a failure in most respects. 'Rolling out best practice' is not the way that educational standards are raised.


Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 12:33

"the most effective school improvement methods were not “top down” but allowed teachers a high degree of autonomy to decide what and how to teach"

Send me a link to the study and I'll take a look. However, my intuitive reaction is that there needs to be some way of monitoring and disseminating good practice, rather than allowing individual schools and/or teachers to either flourish or nosedive in isolation. Whether you call that Ofsted or something else, it needs to exist. I've witnessed enough poor teaching to know that autonomy can be a dangerous tool in the wrong hands.

By the way, I'm talking about what Ofsted "should" be. Whether or not it always lives up to that expectation is another matter.

Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 12:52

Roger, actually "rolling out best practice" does, by definition, improve educational standards.

However, rolling out indifferent practice, or incoherently spattering out best practice, or a combination of the two doesn't improve educational standards. Perhaps that is what you actually experienced.

Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 13:06

Roger said " But if you looked at the Ofsted report of the Steiner Academy in Hereford"

I wouldn't be interested in a Steiner Academy, even if it was Outstanding. Parents choosing schools tend to use more than just the Ofsted report as a measure of suitability.

Roger said "then there is the Finnish system, where children don’t start school at all until the age of 7"

But from the age of eight months, all children have access to free, full-day daycare and kindergarten. Do you think they're just playing "tag" all day? No, they're learning. It's just not called school.

Roger said: "How do know your 9 year old is understanding the concepts he is being introduced to?"

Because I'm an attentive parent. I talk to my children about what they learn at school. I monitor their progress, and oversee their homework.

Roger said "As for your comparisons with business, the ever rising target model backed by PRP doesn’t work in education and I don’t believe it works in business either outside the dodgy world of selling people stuff they don’t need and which don’t work"

It doesn't always work. I've experienced two extremes - ever increasing target setting in industry, and an archaic hierarchical non-performance related system in higher education. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and I can only conclude that the best system would draw from both, rewarding experience and recent performance proportionately, but not being afraid to recognise when someone is burnt out and performing badly..

rogertitcombe's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 13:00

Beth - Whatever it means 'by definition' bears no relation to what actually happens. Concepts can be 'delivered' to teachers and pupils but this does not necessarily result in 'internalisation', which means that the pupil has fitted the concept onto her personal conceptual structure. The same applies regarding 'roll-outs' and teachers.

Teaching and learning are much richer, deeper and more complex than that.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 08/04/2014 - 08:19

Beth - OECD guru Andreas Schleicher said high performing school systems have moved from “professional or administrative forms of accountability and control” to “professional forms of work organisations”. He said standardization and compliance belong to the past where the emphasis was on outcomes – in high-performing systems the emphasis is on the next stage in a pupil’s education: the next teacher, the next school, the pupil’s future life.

More information here.

"Top down" direction is not the same as disseminating good practice which is, as you rightly say, essential. This was one component, among others, which contributed to the success of the London Challenge and City Challenge.





"Top down" direction is when someone at the "top" tells schools how and what to teach.

Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 13:10

Roger: "Whatever it means ‘by definition’ bears no relation to what actually happens"

In your experience, clearly not. That doesn't mean the whole concept is dead in the water.

Did the London and City Challenge programmes not represent a successful rolling out of good practice?

rogertitcombe's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 13:29

No Beth, I don't think they did. My impression is that it was a lot more co-operative and interactive than that.


Beth's picture
Mon, 07/04/2014 - 13:37

Roger: "My impression is that it was a lot more co-operative and interactive than that"

Then we're not actually in disagreement, because I would put co-operation and interaction under the umbrella of "best practice", whereas I think you're applying the term more narrowly to a set of favoured teaching methods.

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